Title: The Dogs of Riga
Author: Hennig Mankell
Series: Kurt Wallander
Genre: Crime fiction/Nordic Noir
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Published: April 13, 2004
I finished The Dogs of Riga late last night, so I thought I'd write a review on it. Well, a review of sorts. I'm not going to go super in-depth with this one.
The Dogs of Riga wasn’t a bad book, but it didn’t feel like a crime novel. It starts out as one when a life raft washes up on the Swedish coat with two dead (and obviously murdered) bodies in it. The bodies are eventually traced to Latvia and the police in Riga send over a major to help with the investigation.
Then several weeks later, Wallander is informed that the police major that he’d befriended was murdered the same night he returned home and Wallander finds himself flying to Riga to aid in the investigation. At this point, Dogs of Riga changes genres and becomes a spy novel all the way to the end. I get the feeling that maybe Hennig Mankell wanted to write a spy novel and decided to kill two birds with one stone by making it a Wallander book.
Generally, I liked Dogs of Riga, but my chief complaint would be the dead spots where nothing happened and things just dragged on. Normally these kind of dead spots don’t bother me because it enhances the story by reinforcing the fact that real life criminal investigations have them too, but the book just had too many long stretches. Mankell's descriptions of Riga were bland and just depressing. I get that that's what he was going for but goddamn, I thought I was going to have to buy some Midnight Hobo to get me through the near lifelessness in which he painted the Latvian capital.
I would give The Dogs of Riga a 7/10. It's worth reading, but I don't think it's not the best Wallander book I've read so far.